Moonroots

Find your roots and grow, wherever you go. Travel-Yoga-Lifestyle


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Guatemala is a Trip

Words can barely describe my recent trip to Guatemala, and I never expected it to be what it was. Through my travels and supported by it’s beauty and culture, amazing people and places, I was knocked down by sickness and brought to life again, met the most amazing people, hiked volcanoes and trudged through caves, saw sunrises and sunsets in places that I will never forget with new faces that have impacted my life for good. Here are some of the highlights and favorite photos of my journeys in this beautiful country, I hope they inspire you to go for yourself and experience your own Guatemalan adventure!

 

1. Exploring the streets of Antigua

I love colonial towns, and Antigua is one the nicest ones I have visited thus far. Old churches, cobblestone streets and heaps of shops and restaurants to check out in the day, as well as some good bars and live music to see at night. I was lucky enough to spend New Year’s here, where the street were packed and the celebration was on in full swing. As the clock hit midnight I watched from a rooftop as fireworks encircled the entire city. If you don’t get too trapped into going out there are some awesome day trips and hikes to do through tour companies that are decently priced and super fun!

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2. The Good Life at Lago de Atitlan

This was a place many friends had told me to visit, and for good reason. The vibe at the lake is not to be missed, a hidden gem in the mountains only accessible by winding roads and well worth the journey. I spent the most time in San Pedro, which is full of awesome restaurants, a couple must-go bars, reputable Spanish schools and thanks to the super ‘naturalist’ crowd it draws, a life saving health food store. Sunbathing, swimming in the lake, hiking, beach partying and lots of good music surrounded by a little family was how I spent my days. Only word of warning, be cautious of taking good care of yourself and perhaps look into Grapefruit Seed Extract if you want to save yourself some trouble, I got quite sick here, and unfortunately it’s a common occurrence. I don’t often stay places for 3 weeks, but San Pedro felt like a temporary home. Want to learn Spanish? Highly recommend Maya B Spanish School. If you are looking for a more relaxed vibe and hella cacao ceremonies, check out San Marcos, easily accessible by boat from the San Pedro dock!DCIM105GOPROGOPR6035.DCIM106GOPROGOPR6120.DCIM106GOPROGOPR6192.DCIM106GOPROGOPR6208.DCIM100GOPROGOPR0346.DCIM100GOPROGOPR0334.

3. Indiana Jones’ing and Jungle Lovin’ in Semuc Champey

Hands down one of the coolest and most fun experiences ever. Pretty broad yeah but seriously, Semuc Champey is the shit. It was a bit of a deathride to get there, stuck in the back of a tiny bus for like 10 hours and fearing falling off a cliff, but once you get there you’ll forget about the bus and let yourself enjoy the beauty and good times awaiting. I stayed at the infamour Zephyr lodge, known for it’s party atmosphere and complete with a bunch of Aussies but worth staying at, even though it’s a tad more expensive than some other accommodations. The town of Lanquin where most people stay (also where Zephyr is located) is quite small but I actually checked out a dope market with some great tamales. Many of the people here didn’t actually speak Spanish but a dialect of Mayan, and being out here really felt as close as many beaten path travellers get to off the grid. Semuc Champey itself is about a 45 minute truck ride away. It’s crystal blue pools and the nearby caves will take your breath away. Talk about jungle love, this place blew my mind. Australia day was pretty fun here too, and gotta love an infinity pool. DCIM106GOPROGOPR6211.DCIM106GOPROGOPR6236.DCIM106GOPROGOPR6249.DCIM106GOPROGOPR6278.

4. The Serene Ruins at Tikal

Almost didn’t make it to Tikal, but if you’re going to see some ruins, I highly recommend visiting. Tikal is located near the city of Flores, so most people stay here and take a tour out in the day to the ruins, as we did, with a super informative and enthusiastic guide and a good sized group. We explored the ruins with our group and individually and what really struck me was how peaceful it was. No giant crowds like Angkor Wat, and with the guide providing in depth info about the ruins, flora and fauna, I felt I got the whole time travel experience. We watched the sunset from one of the highest formations, as is has done for years and years over the Mayan Empire. Magical.DCIM106GOPROGOPR6298.DCIM106GOPROGOPR6301.DCIM106GOPROGOPR6294.DCIM106GOPROGOPR6309.

So there you have some highlights of some crazy times down in Guate. So much left untold, so much still to discover. Muchas gracias!

 

What parts of Guatemala have you visited? What were your favorite parts or crazy things you experienced here?


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How I (try to) travel light

As I prepare to jet off on another leg of the great journey the excitement of packing the trusty ol’ travelling backpack fills me with joy. The constant narrowing down of everything you think you ‘need’ until it all fits comfortably into your turtle-shell carry all is a task I am well acquainted with and as annoying it can be, it is always good practice, of travel and of non-attachment.

I told myself this time I was taking nothing. I want to be able to hop on and off of buses without the fear of breaking my spine or dreading trekking up any sort of hill with my oversized pack. I will wear the same outfit for months. I imagine my backpack as a lovely floating green companion with a few shirts and a toothbrush, until I realize that unless I’m on naked and afraid, there will be a lot more than that. I’m going for balance here. So here is what I’ve narrowed it down to, quite painlessly actually, the guts of my pack which will hopefully be more ‘I can evade dogs and run fast with this!’ than ‘holy shit my knees are broken.’

One outfit would be light but ultimately impractical and boring. Sitting in an airport freezing in tiny shorts is at least better when you have a light sweater. Obviously it’s easier to pack light when you’ll be in warm climates, but terrain and environment can vary drastically.photo (32)With clothes it’s best to stick to basics and things that are multipurpose. That scarf? Now it’s a vest..or blanket..or skirt. Scarves are where it’s at.

So here I have:

5 tanktops (they’re small)

1 dress

2 pairs of yoga shorts

1 pair of leggings

1 scarf

1 sarong (like scarves, can have many uses)

2 hats and 1 wool buff

2 pairs jean shorts

1 cardigan

1 rainjacket/windbreaker

a clump of bathing suits and unds

Not so bad. I can honestly say scarves and my rainjacket have saved me numerous times, pack them! Also in this photo is my travel hoop (need) and hammock. Hammock’s a little heavy but can come in very handy and oh so comfy.

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As for shoes, I typically end up with none or well worn flip flops, but there’s always a part of me that pictures myself hiking epic volcanoes and hoping for something a little more sturdy. The boots are a bit of an exception. These aren’t exactly something I would highly recommend bringing, but I love them.photo (33)

This part is where shit gets heavy. Previously I’ve travelled without a computer ( I didn’t actually own one at the time) but I just prefer to have it, especially if I plan to keep this ol’ thing pretty up to date. Then cameras, cords and chargers are added into the mix. As long as electronics are all kept compact and organized they’re really not bad to travel with. Also pictured here is the ESSENTIAL yoga mat and handy dandy journal. Not pictured here: Gopro and accessories.

 

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Also bringing the ukulele!!!

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This things been around the block.

At the end of it all, I feel like I did a pretty good job this time around. All comes down to weeding out what you really don’t need, which will become apparent when you hit the road. And don’t forget the little things, like passport copies and padlocks, just to be safe.

Hope this was a decent insight on the art of packing, happy travels and be safe!!!

Stay tuned for posts on my upcoming travels and to see where the wind is currently taking me!

Namaste!


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Fast times in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.

After completing my Spanish studies for the moment in Granada, I was more than ready to move on. I made the decision to head to San Juan Del Sur for some much needed beach and fun time, and what a great decision it was. I would attend the infamous Sunday Funday, surf and eat burritos to my hearts content. Boarding the school bus marked ‘Rivas’ with many locals and a handful of alert-looking travellers I sat next to a smiling jewelry maker from Guatemala. He showed me his creations and we chatted in Spanish. I could smell the Flor de Cana on his breath, which as a polite fellow he offered me, but I wasn’t ready to start just yet. I met an awesome few new friends on the bus that would make my trip to San Juan all the more awesome.photo (2)

The view of the ocean so close and glimmering as we got out of the sticky taxi made my heart explode, I loved this place already. After realizing we weren’t the only people rolling into SJDS after trying at both popular Pachamama hostels we strolled down and found accommodation at an Irish bar/hostel right on the beach called Casa del Mar. If you find yourself in a similar situation, never fear, there are tons of accomodations in close proximity to eachother, but if showing up for Sunday Funday it’s wise to book ahead. The world cup was on as we walked in, the bar surrounded by enthusiastic locals getting in on the contagious football excitement and 20 cordoba beers. If I may add, these were the cheapest beers I could find at any bar.photo (5)photo (6)photo (7)

Being a small town, the beach is pretty much close to everything, either a walk or a bike ride away, and if you’re up in the hills a little bit you’re still pretty close by truck or cab. The main beach right out front is perfect for swimming and is even a little surfable.

In town, there are a plethora of restaurants and cafes that are sure to catch your eye. Though some are more expensive than your typical Central American establishments, they are cool places and worth checking out. I’d recommend Gato Negro Café for a great cup of coffee and breakfast, as well as a huge selection of books for sale, a big table with stacks of tarot cards, baked goods and an assortment of handicrafts. For a gourmet burger or inventive appies, check out Nacho Libre, a little burger place with crafty and original burgers with prime ingredients and a cool atmosphere. They have veggie options too! If the Canadian in you is craving some poutine or a stacked Caesar, hit The Loose Moose, a patriotic pub/eatery that also has a good sushi roll. There are also a few taco/burrito mainly-to-go places that top the list like Taco Stop.photo (14)

Fuelled and ready to go it’s time to hit the beach and SURF! A $5 each truck ride (with a couple other people) will take out out to Playa Maderas, one of my favorite beaches for surfing ever. That’s a bold statement, yes. There are more amazing beaches in the area, but this was the only one I was so fortunate to surf at. You can rent a board there but they’re not abundant so it’s easier to rent one in town from a surf shop that will most likely have a truck to take you out as well. These top class waves cater to more advanced as well as beginner surfers and the vibe is just amazing. There are a couple restaurants/cafes on the beach, a popular camping area and a SLACKLINE. That’s my jam. Get yo’ surf on, get yo’ tan on, get yo’ balance on. Maderas is beautiful. There are a few hotels scattered along the road toward the beach and a hostel right at the beach, but this place is generally booked due to it’s location so call ahead. Seriously a must-go beach.photo (11)photo (10)

photo (3) photo (12)photo (16)So it’s time to talk about the once a week gathering of debaucherous young people getting crazy in pools, the infamous Sunday Funday. Waking up pretty hungover and waiting in line to buy a ticket with a bunch of soon to be homies, I can honestly say I was not feeling it. Thanks to my crew for keeping me on track though and not missing out. If you’re going to attend any party in Nicaragua this is a great one to hit. After buying a wristband/claiming your rightful Sunday Funday singlet, the day is yours to mentally and physically prepare (whatever that means) until the trucks start coming and hauling away party-goers to a resort overlooking the bay, the first stop of the madness. The infinity pool beckons as you enter, and the place is packed. One word of warning here though, the bathroom to attendee ratio is way off, so just try not to go or you’ll be spending a lot of time in a line up.  Easier said than done, I know. The pool crawl eventually takes you to the Naked Tiger hostel for even more ‘wholesome’ fun and then at the end of it all down to Pachamama Hostel in town. It’s a great ride, and if you roll with it, prepare for an amazing time.

If your body is still going and your head still wants to party, there are a couple fun bars in town as well, like The Black Whale and Iguana. The Black Whale has pool tables and also does fire shows. One word of warning, as San Juan del Sur is a more touristed place, petty crimes can be more common, but just keep your wits about you as usual and don’t venture onto the beach at night.photo (13)

If you’re looking to get some new artwork needled into your wonderfully tan skin, I highly recommend Guy Mark Tattoo. This amazing artist has been tattooing around the globe for quite a while, with a highly unique and sought after watercolor style. If you dig his style, go in ahead of time to chat as he’s usually pretty booked up, and make sure you get all your surfing done first.

It’s definitely understandable how people get ‘stuck’ in SJDS, beautiful beaches, surf, great food and great times all around.

Have you been to San Juan? What were your experiences of this little beach town?

 

 

 


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Picture Perfect, Pavones, Costa Rica

The beach where i’m sitting is almost deserted and that’s just how it is. Palms stand alone guarding the beautiful shores as many restful siestas are being had, cooling down in the afternoon sun. It’s beams reflect off the water with such power that you feel every single one on your skin. Harmony on the breeze, a stillness in motion. Pavones is beautiful. Located just north of the Costa Rica-Panama border on the Pacific ocean, I knew I loved this place the moment we arrived. The cool waters of the Rio Claro, with it’s glasslike pools thatmake one appear to be gliding through thick air, the water an embodiment of a certain intangible element that ties it all together. A beautiful energy in the air. IMG_7242

IMG_7205The first afternoon in Pavones, we found refuge from the hot sun and our heavy backpacks at Cabinas Carol, an attractive accommodation of cabinas with a nice communal kitchen, well kept bathrooms and free coffee. At 15 dollars a night, this is a great place to stay to meet awesome people and be a short walk from the beach. The rest of the duration of my stay was just next door at what didn’t seem like cabinas at first, but as the days went on seemed to just get better. First a bench, then a doormat, the list goes on. Carlos, Chino, Estevan and the gang there were super friendly and accommodating, and fed us the best papaya honey empanadas. In a whirlwind of transient hostels, for a week this felt like a home, complete with cute ass puppies.IMG_7228 Though the town is quite small the grocery stores here are packed, not too expensive, there are a couple of bars and restaurants, and most everything in the town is close enough to create an amazing community vibe. The waves toward the right side of the beach are quite good for intermediate beginnners, and definitely for more advanced surfers while there is a swell. IMG_7268Walking from the town about an hour an a half you can reach Punta Banco, a giant stretch of beach where you will probably find yourself alone, or at least be just far enough away to think that one other beachgoer is just a fleck on the horizon. It’s a good walk but a hot one, and a little hitchhiking could be appropriate here, but either way so worth it to enjoy this magical beach.IMG_7243

On Saturdays there is the best little farmers market in the town just next to the ‘skate park’. I pretty much fell in love as I roamed the little tables, eyes wide and drooling at all the fresh baked goods, homemade hot sauces and hummus, beautiful handcrafted jewelry, coconut oils, fresh pressed juices and true gems of all locally handmade items. The fresh made hummus was my personal favorite, and you may find yourself spending your ‘life savings’ on these morsels of magic. On that note, make sure you bring enough cash to town, as there are no ATMs.IMG_7183

For a killer burrito, hit Tico-Mex, those things are huge and amazing. And for an evening of magic, the sunsets here are fricken beautiful. Plenty of dry coconut husks and driftwood also means a beachfire under the stars, good company, a box of Clos (the classiest of wines) and wading into the water to see bioluminescence and rainbow jellyfish.IMG_7260IMG_7207IMG_7271 Pavones, hasta luego, I’ll be back!

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